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Spotlight: Fresh fighting resumes in Yemen's Hodeidah, shattering UN-led peace efforts

发布时间:2018年11月26日        点击数量:27

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-25 01:48:53|Editor: Shi Yinglu

 

 

 

Yemeni people take part in a protest against the ongoing fighting and blockade outside the United Nations Office in Sanaa, Yemen, on Nov. 25, 2018. Preparations are underway to hold the expected UN-sponsored peace talks in Sweden next month. (Xinhua/Mohammed Mohammed)

 

ADEN, Yemen, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- A fresh wave of fighting erupted between the Yemeni government forces and the Houthi rebels in Yemen's western port city of Hodeidah just a few hours after the departure of the United Nations special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths.

 

Both warring parties ignored the UN calls aimed at de-escalating the situation in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, and engaged in armed confrontations on the ground amid heavy exchange of artillery shelling, raising questions about the fate of ongoing peace efforts.

 

Although both sides had declared their willingness to halt the fighting and head to participate in the upcoming UN-sponsored peace talks in Sweden, sporadic fighting and exchange of gunfire continued in Hodeidah.

 

An army commander told Xinhua by phone that the government forces clashed with Houthi rebels in the areas surrounding the Kilo 16 area in Hodeidah, but no military progress was made.

 

"Houthis positioned inside the citizens' farms keep targeting our sites with artillery shells and some of our soldiers were injured as a result of the bombardment," the commander said on condition of anonymity.

 

He said that the government forces responded and shelled the Houthi-controlled sites with artillery gunfire, sparking armed confrontations in the same areas around Kilo 16 area.

A source of the government's media center said that several shells fired by Houthis landed on residential buildings in Hodeidah's neighborhood of Mandher, causing casualties.

"Some of the houses were partially damaged and many families were evacuated as the Houthis randomly shell the area," the source said anonymously.

 

Witnesses told Xinhua that warplanes of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition launched a number of airstrikes against the Houthi-held areas in Hodeidah.

 

The Houthi-affiliated Masirah television network reported that two of the Saudi-led airstrikes hit the rebels-held district of Aljarahi in Hodeidah.

 

The sporadic violations and resumption of fighting raging over the control of the strategic Red Sea port city Hodeidah raised questions about the result of the UN peace efforts.

On Friday, Griffiths, accompanied by the World Food Program Chief Stephen Anderson and the UN Humanitarian Coordinator Lise Grande, visited Hodeidah.

During his visit to the war-torn city, the UN envoy negotiated with the Houthi leadership about a supervisory role over the strategic port in Yemen's Hodeidah, which is still under the control of the Iranian-backed rebels.

"We have agreed that the UN should now pursue actively and urgently detailed negotiations for a leading UN role in the port and more broadly ... such a role will preserve the essential humanitarian pipeline that starts here and serves the people of Yemen," Griffiths said.

 

However, the Yemeni Minister of Information, Moammar el-Eryani, said on Friday that it is not possible to accept any agreement that allows the management of Hodeidah's port without its return to the legitimate government's control.

The minister stressed that his government won't accept the presence of the Houthi rebels in Hodeidah, and urged the UN envoy to persuade them of leaving the strategic city and its port, handing it over to the internationally-recognized government peacefully.

Earlier in the day, Yemeni local media outlets reported that the UN envoy left the country's capital Sanaa after a three-day visit that included meetings with the seniors Houthi leaders.

 

Preparations are underway to hold a new round of UN-sponsored talks to end the country's years-long conflict. The meeting is expected to kick off in Sweden next month.

The state-run Saba news agency quoted the country's foreign minister as saying that "the government has informed the UN envoy to Yemen ... that it will send a government delegation to the talks with the aim of reaching a political solution."

Hodeidah, the main Red Sea port city which handles 80 percent of Yemen's imports and aid, has witnessed deadly clashes over the past few weeks between the government troops backed by the Saudi-led coalition forces and the Houthi rebels.

 

The government backed by the Saudi-led Arab coalition has been trying to recapture Hodeidah from Houthis who seized it along with much of the country's north in late 2014.

The previous UN-sponsored peace talks in Geneva collapsed in September after the Houthi delegation did not appear.